In transparency we trust
There has been a lot of talk around trust lately, and for good reason. Consumers are, more than ever, wanting businesses to demonstrate they can be trusted throughout the entire client experience. For law firms, the change in the Solicitor Regulation Authority rules last year brought many opportunities to change the way they operate and show trust through compliance with aspects such as price and service transparency.
Although law firm compliance can be confusing to keep up to date with, the cost of underinvestment is great. And despite these new regulations being in place, many firms are still not fully compliant when it comes to how transparent they are. Costs must be presented in a ‘clear and easyto-understand format’ providing at least a total cost, if not an average range of costs for that legal activity.
A recent Bellwether report highlighted that only 29% of independent law firms are happy to publish their prices. This comes with growing concern that advertising service prices could drive consumers away as they become savvier to the alternatives available. However, efficiency, speed and service are actually still ranked as more important than price among a lot of the public.
Being open and honest with clients from the beginning, especially when it comes to price, is a sure-fire way to gain their trust. Not only this, but it is also an opportunity for firms to showcase their expertise and reputation alongside their prices, which can help to better manage client expectations. It’s no hidden secret that moving property is one of the most stressful experiences during an individual’s lifetime, with the British public disliking property agents even more than lawyers, according to recent surveys. Next year will see additional responsibility being placed on solicitors to spot illegal activity when dealing with agents, on top of their current duties to prevent money laundering. The potential introduction of a reservation agreement will build on and increase the trust individuals have when dealing with solicitors.
Communication is key when dealing with your clients, with online portals being on the increase to keep them up to date while also increasing transparency throughout the entire matter. Change is inevitable in the legal industry, with consumer behaviour set to keep disrupting the sector. All a law firm can do is embrace these changes and ensure their service providers also have a future roadmap to keep up with their demands.